BEDFORD — Dan and Joann Jacobson have a small garden at their Bedford home, but it wasn’t large enough for all they wanted to plant so last year they signed up for a plot at the Bedford Parks Department community garden on 22nd Street.
This year, the Bedford Parks Department is moving the community garden to 416 H St., and the Jacobsons are moving with it.
The couple attended Wednesday’s ground-breaking for the Bedford Community Garden to learn more about it and to sign up for their garden plot.
“We’ll probably plant beets, tomatoes and maybe some lettuce,” Joann Jacobson said.
The new community garden is expected to be ready for planting May 13. Gardeners can choose from 10-feet by 10-feet or 10-feet by 20-feet plots. The plots are free, but gardeners can pay $15 to receive a key to a tool shed.
At nearly three acres, the site can accommodate 62 garden plots. Unlike the previous community garden, which was just garden plots, the plan for H Street is more ambitious.
The vision, created by the Bedford Parks Department and Live Well Lawrence County, includes a shelter house, playground, solar greenhouse, walking path, orchard, shade trees, tool shed and fencing. The estimated cost is about $156,500. A fundraising campaign is under way.
Bedford Parks Director Barry Jeskewich said the project is ambitious, but is worth doing for its potential to improve the health and well-being of city residents.
He said losing the garden site on 22nd Street (land owner Green Hill Cemetery has listed it for sale), where between 40 and 50 people planted gardens, turned out to be a positive.
“It’s given us the opportunity to do this and offer the community more than just garden plots,” he said.
The land was gifted to the city by the Bedford Urban Enterprise Association.
Jeskewich said the garden also has potential to foster community engagement as beginning gardeners will work beside and can learn from seasoned gardeners. The area’s Master Gardeners will also have a presence at the garden to share tips and information.
Rachel Beyer, community wellness coordinator, said improving the health of residents is another plus to the garden.
“The great thing about this community garden project is that it has the potential to address a wide variety of health concerns in Bedford,” Beyer said. “In this one place, people can get access to fresh fruits and vegetables, go for a walk with their family, play on the playground, or share a picnic with neighbors. It will be an all ages, healthy eating, physically active, stress relieving, welcoming and inclusive destination.”
Design elements will be completed as funding is received, Jeskewich said.
The Jacobsons, who have gardened all their lives, said having a community garden is a wonderful asset.
“I like the idea,” Dan Jacobson said. “Gardens like this are very common in Europe.”
“For someone who does’t have a big yard, this is great,” Joann Jacobson said.